Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

Special Ops Grannies…

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

–2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”

–Joshua 13:1

“Don’t let me push too hard, Lord. I know I’ve got a big mouth.”

–Miss Clara, from the movie War Room

Grandma Skippy called it a “sewing circle.” Grandma Elaine met with a “quilting group.”


Yeah, RIGHT. Clever covers for covert operatives.

Oh, sure, they were sewing…and quilting…but while engaging in these seemingly benign activities, they were also…PRAYING! Praying for ME…well, not just me, but ALL their grandkids, plus a handful of unrelated wayward souls on their radar.

They were…Special Ops Grannies!

No job too small, no case too hopeless.

A prayer posse of (literally) Biblical proportions. Their motto? “I love it when His plan comes together.”

You know that whole “pray in secret” thing? They’ve got that DOWN. They’ve had a looooong time to refine it. Those prayers are like laser-guided sniper fire. Just try to get away. Resistance is futile. You. Will. Be. Saved.

Despite their secrecy, I instinctively knew. I’d be cluelessly ambling through my day and suddenly, I could FEEL it.

Fall of 1986 I headed to France for a year of study abroad. As my plane was touching down in Paris, two terrorist bombs went off in the city…eight my first week there. Through that year on alert…bookbags checked at school, banks, McDonalds…National Guardsmen on every corner…I could feel it…

I’d be shopping in a crowded market street, scrutinizing passersby, constantly vigilant, and I could feel it…something…this heavy, comforting, palpable layer of security wrapped around me…

Like a big homemade quilt infused with love…

The OTHER quilt they were making…day by day, square by square, prayer by prayer.

In February 2019 I received “the call,” the “we’ve been preparing for this and now it’s here” call. By the time I made it to her bedside, Grandma Elaine was resting peacefully but couldn’t respond, yet I still felt at any minute she would open her eyes and start fussing about being fussed over.

My mom, her two sisters, and a cousin welcomed me to sit down. In the course of a lengthy conversation, some laughter, some tears, we arrived at a decision, an acceptance of a time-honored truth…that she would not pass on unless she was alone.

We stood up.

And then, the extraordinary happened. A moment, a God-soaked moment, never to be forgotten.

We grabbed hands and gathered around her. We opened with the Lord’s Prayer (“because she loves it so much”). In turn, we said goodbye, told her it was okay to go, we’d be alright. As we slowly filed out, a final farewell, “Now you can go and be with Jesus.”

Grandma Elaine lived a life of humble dignity, hard work, and quiet faith…the life of a farm girl. She fixed roofs, sewed quilts, made piles of lefse, and planted seeds…so many seeds.

Galatians 6:9–Never tire of doing good, for in time you will reap a harvest.

On that last day she was surrounded and celebrated by a part of that harvest.

The only legacy that lasts.

Well done, farm girl. Well done.



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